Our Secular Age and Tim Keller in Our Home

We had a great time last week on Thursday night livestreaming Tim Keller from NY as he spoke on Faith & Proof: How can you believe in something you can’t prove?

There are six more talks happening each Thursday as we head toward Easter and you are invited to come, have spaghetti, and bring a friend to hear them. (I’ll include the list of topics at the bottom of the post.)

What I appreciate most about Tim Keller is that he is incredibly respectful of the point of view of those who are unconvinced about the validity of Christianity. He has had numerous conversations with skeptics since coming to NYC to start Redeemer PCA in 1989.

He began his talk with examples of people who have both converted to and “de-converted” from Christianity. He made the case for how Christian beliefs are “unprovable” or how there is no argument that is airtight, leaving zero room for doubt.

His main thesis was reworked from an idea presented by Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor in his landmark book A Secular Age. Keller moved that secularism is not an “absence of belief”, but it’s the presence of a new set of beliefs that are also unprovable.

Along with an amazing lecture (no, it wasn’t a sermon – it was a lecture), there was a great time for question and response. Folks who were in our house were eager to see the way Keller would handle questions that people tweeted in.

Then we had our own discussion time to follow up. It was thoughtful and engaging. I really appreciated the questions and thoughtfulness of those who stayed to talk.

This week and every week for the next six weeks we’ll do something similar. (Probably we’ll leave more room to have our own question and response time rather than spend all our time listening to the livestream Q & R.)

You’re invited to come and doubt with us. One thing I appreciated was Keller’s definition of doubt. He said that there are two ways to doubt:

1) To doubt means to ask yourself, “Maybe I don’t understand this, so I doubt that I know it?”

Or

2) To doubt means, “I wish this wasn’t true because I don’t like it.”

That is a helpful distinction. We all have doubts, but how we doubt particular things matters. Sometimes our doubts lead us to the conclusion that “if I can’t think of a good reason why something happens then no good reason exists.” But the pride in that statement is obvious.

Lastly, Keller answered a question that basically boiled down to a person being mad at God. He replied, “Basically, if you have a God big enough to be mad at, then He’s big enough to have reasons for doing things that you won’t understand.” It was good food for thought, and it was more winsome in his presentation than I am able to rewrite here.

If you have questions and friends and need dinner on a Thursday night, here are the next several topics:

March 14 – MEANING: Does life have meaning beyond what I make of it?

March 21 – SATISFACTION: How can I be happy? Does God care about my happiness?

March 28 – IDENTITY: Am I only as good as my latest achievement?

April 4 – MORALITY: Can there be moral absolutes?

April 11 – JUSTICE: What can humans do in the face of all the injustice in the world?

April 18 – HOPE: Can hope exist in the face of death and all the evil in the world?

We’d love to have you join us.